I can't tell you how excited I was to hear that Meb Keflezighi won the NYC Marathon on Sunday. Meb was a big reason why I chose to attend UCLA, and his amazing success throughout high school, college, and the professional ranks is a testament to his amazing work ethic and his unflappable personality. I can honestly say I've never met a person in any field who is more dedicated, more consistent, or more disciplined than Meb is to his running.
I think it's fitting that Meb was the first American to break the 27 year losing streak at New York. Not because Ryan Hall wouldn't be deserving but because Meb has done a lot to bring back US distance running. With that in mind, I wrote up a little article about Meb the Marathoner for Runner's Tribe where I try to add a little context to Meb's marathon successes. Here's the start:
It's about time. It's about time an American man won a marathon major again. It's about time a group of Americans represented in force on our home turf. And it's about time that Meb Keflezighi won himself a laurel wreath, winning yesterday's ING New York City Marathon. (Results)
Five years ago, Meb made the complete transition to the marathon, and promptly went out and won a silver medal at the Athens Olympics. He had previously finished 2nd at the Olympic Trials, and shortly after Athens he went on to finish 2nd in New York. He followed that with a couple third place finishes in New York and then Boston, giving him five top three finishes in his first seven marathons. But no victories.
The ironic thing is, he never ran particularly fast times during this period either. His best was his 2:09:53 in New York in '04. I'm sure he figured faster times would come, but during the three years when he was far and away the top marathoner in the country, he didn't chase times. Instead, he opted to race big US marathons with slower, tougher courses. I spoke with Meb's coach, Bob Larsen, at the UCLA-USC dual meet this year and he talked about Meb during that period between '04 and '05.
Click here to read more about Meb in 2004, about how Meb is a Competitor (as opposed to a Racer), and why Meb should stick to courses like Boston and New York.